OKANOGAN – Okanogan Fire Chief Jerod Gavin retired from the chief’s position Oct. 15.
Mayor Jon Culp announced Gavin’s immediate departure during the Oct. 15 city council meeting.
“I will an appoint an interim chief,” said Culp.
In addition to serving as city chief, Gavin also is Fire District No. 3 Okanogan station chief. The district serves the rural Omak-Okanogan area and Malott.
Gavin said he’s been in fire service for 26 years and “it’s time to move on to different things.”
He said he will remain in the Okanogan rural chief’s position through the end of October, but then will leave that post, too.
“I told the commissioners I would stay with it through Christian’s service,” he said, referring to the Oct. 24 memorial service for Okanogan Assistant Chief Christian Johnson.
Johnson died Oct. 2 after being burned in the Sept. 1 Spring Coulee Fire.
Gavin declined to say whether Johnson’s death figured into his decision to leave.
He said he has “other ventures to explore,” but declined to elaborate.
Gavin was appointed to the part-time city position March 19, 2014, in the wake of Gordon Hennigs’ firing three months earlier. He also works full time as an Omak police officer and said he will continue in that post.
Upon his appointment, Gavin said his longtime goal was to lead a fire department.
He joined the Tonasket Fire Department in 1993, right after his graduation from Tonasket High School. In 1999, he moved to Okanogan and joined that city’s department. He joined the Omak Fire Department in 2009.
In the wake of Hennigs’ departure, fire district commissioners adopted a resolution saying Omak and Okanogan’s “duly appointed” chiefs will be the district’s designated station chiefs for those respective areas. A chief would serve until either a city council or the district board amended the designation, but the district reserved final approval for itself.
The resolution doesn’t apply to the Malott station chief since that community isn’t incorporated. The district alone names that chief.
Omak Chief Kevin Bowling, also the Omak station chief for the fire district, said the next commission meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Omak Fire Hall, 8 N. Ash St.